Hamcation acquisitions

Day 2 at Orlando Hamcation was spent looking for antenna things and CW keys. Lots more people at Hamcation today than there were yesterday, which was expected. After wandering around to the different tables in the swaps area and wandering around the bone yard, I had a better idea of what I wanted to get.

Picked up some stranded copper wire, coax and ladder line for antenna projects, and then it was out to the swaps building.

First acquisition was this J-38 straight key. It’s a little dusty, the flat knob is a bit chipped and the shorting switch is missing, but it had the best action of the other J-38 keys the guy was selling. It needs some cleaning, but I’m looking forward to learning more about this style of key and wiring up to play with.

J-38 straight key
J-38 straight key

A breadboard, some 7 segment LED modules and some kind of metering panel that I’ll use for parts.

Parts
Parts

The next acquisition was this Heathkit HD-10 keyer. The guy selling it had it in his shack gathering dust for years and wasn’t getting too many bites at the price he was initially looking for, so I managed to pick it up for a great price. Plugged it in and it works pretty well. 

Heathkit HD-10 keyer
Heathkit HD-10 keyer

Toward the end of my bone yard wanderings I spotted these variable plate capacitors on the table and scored them for $2. Some of them are a bit oxidized and need a bit of TLC, but I think I’ll be able to put them to work doing something.

Air variable caps
Air variable caps

Orlando Hamcation Day 1

Today was the first day of Orlando Hamcation. We arrived a little before the gates opened, and wandered around looking at all the things until around 5 or so.

With three buildings full of exhibitors and vendors along with the “bone yard” (aka tailgating), there’s a lot to see here.

We started off in the Commercial I/II building where all the…well, commercial vendors were. All the big name companies in radio were there: Kenwood, Yaesu, MFJ, etc had tables, along with a bunch of other smaller but well known companies. Plenty of radios and accessories to look at.

The “Swaps” building was definitely the most interesting place. Basically one very large garage sale with just about everything radio related you could think of, and a lot of other non-radio things thrown in for good measure.

Had an eyeball QSO with Russ/N4RTD/@747Russ.

One of the highlights of today was visiting the ARRL table to see if anyone could tell Connie about the Wouff Hong. Robert (NQ1R) did one better and showed us the Wouff Hong (well, a Wouff Hong pin really).

Wouff Hong
Wouff Hong

We met up with Connie’s dad again and spent some time wandering around the tailgating area to see what people out there had to sell. Got some good antenna building tips from him while we were looking.

Hamcation boneyard
Hamcation boneyard

I saw a few things that I was tempted to lay down some cash for, and a lot of antenna components that I was interested in. Lots of old vintage radio gear that was pretty cool. Saw some pretty decent looking straight keys that I was tempted by. Vibroplex had some very nice keys at their table, but a bit out of my price range.

I thought this window gap jumper from Comet was pretty brilliant. Flat coax for running the antenna line into the house through a window.

Comet window gap jumper
Comet window gap jumper

Didn’t see any antenna analyzers around though. Tomorrow we’ll head back and I’ll have a closer look at everything again and probably pick up a few things.

Also looking forward to meeting up with a few people tomorrow.

Hamfest-ing

Went to the Charleston Hamfest today and spent a few hours wandering around checking out all the things. It’s a smaller event than the Atlanta Hamfest I went to in June, but I still enjoyed it. The variety of things to see wasn’t as big, but it was still fun seeing everything and meeting up with fellow hams.

I had big plans to acquire a bunch of antenna making supplies, like coax, wire, feedlines, connectors and other things, but after looking around a bit I decided I needed more of a shopping list to know what to get. Instead, I ended up with a cap with my call sign and name embroidered on it, and a table mounted magnifying lamp for the workshop. A couple of pretty good acquisitions, I think.

I’ll have to put a shopping list together for Hamcation next weekend.

Charleston Hamfest

The Charleston Hamfest is only a few weeks away on Feb 2. This will be the second hamfest that I’ve gone to so I’m looking forward to seeing what will be there. The first hamfest was the Atlanta Hamfest back in June (which is also where I passed the ham radio license tests) and was a lot of fun. A pretty decent attendance and a lot of neat looking gear. I wonder what this one will have.